To kick off the
2012-13 fantasy hockey draft season, Landsharkhockey.com is publishing our
annual free player rankings this week.
And what better place to start than in net. Today we reveal our Top 50 goalie rankings,
along with player notes. If you're
looking for cookie-cutter predictions, you've come to the wrong place. We've analyzed the situations for each goalie
and we're predicting a major shake up in the standings for 2012-13. As always,
our rankings are divided into tiers, so you can quickly spot where there is a
significant drop off in talent. This helps
when you have a tough choice between positions come draft time.
OK, so it's not so
shocking at the top. Perhaps the biggest
point of note is that the elite contains just 2 goalies. After that, there is a significant drop in
reliability. So if you can't land one of
these guys early in the draft, I advise waiting on this position and claiming
one of the Tier 2 options.
Topping last season
is a bit too much to ask, after all, what else could he add to the dream that
culminated with a Conn Smythe and a Stanley? You can draft him this year with
full confidence that even if he just comes close to last year's performance, you'll
have a top 3 goalie on your hands. Remember, the Kings struggled mightily
through the middle half of the season. Assuming they pick up where they leaft
off in June, Quick could be looking at 40+ wins this time around.
There are very few
sure things from year to year when it comes to fantasy goalies. The King was
finally rewarded for his steadiness with his first Vezina. Probably a season or
two late in coming. Whether it's wins, saves, or any other goaltending stat that
you covet, you can't miss with Lundqvist again this season. He may finally
reach 40 wins for the first time in his career this season.
This is where things
get interesting. If you base you
decision purely off of last year's results, you would naturally gravitate
towards names like Mike Smith, Mikka Kiprusoff, and Jimmy Howard. If you do this, you'll end up spending a high
pick on yesterday's news. Make room for
some new names to challenge the big dogs:
You may find it
shocking to see Halak so high on the draft list, but here are three reasons to
believe he's due for a Vezina challenge: 1. He's that good. Think back to the
Olympics when he carried Slovakia. Think back to his spectacular run with the
Habs. He can be a wall. 2. Hitchcock. This man has a history of making goalies
stats silly good. 3. I'm not sold on Elliot repeating his magic. Halak should
emerge as the horse and get his 60 starts. Enough to make this a gamble worth
taking. Feel free to wait on him, as others won't have him in the top 10. By
the end of the season, he'll be a top-5 goalie. So don't wait too long. Don't
forget, St. Louis piled up the wins last season. They just split 'em up between
Halak and Elliot. More will fall this way in 2012-13. The one concern to keep
an eye on up to draft time is how well he has recovered from last season's
ankle injury. Initial word is that he will be good to go.
Perhaps it's a
shocker to see last season's 35th ranked fantasy goalie cracking the top 5 on
the draft list. But this is all about opportunity. When Thomas pulled himself
out for the year, he handed Rask his finest gift, the chance to shine. The
Bruins are a solid defensive team that will win games. Rask was solid last
season with a 2.05 GAA. Now with nobody to challenge him for the spotlight, he
could make a run at 35-40 wins.
Forget about the
playoffs. I said, forget about it... Let's get back to that regular season when
Fleury piled up 42 wins to go with a 2.36 GAA for the Pens. He was just outside
the ranks of the Vezina candidates. (Hey, forget about the playoffs, ok?). What
happened in April against the Flyers is hard to explain, and with Fleury, it's
always hard to explain. But the bottom line here is that he's a great goalie
who will start the bulk of the games for a great team. The addition of Vokoun
can only help, as Bylsma won't feel obligated to hang the Flower out to dry
when he has a bad game or two. Look for a fine bounce back in 2012-13. That
said, we'll still classify this pick as a gamble. (It's hard to forget about
Rinne put together
another fine season as the Predator's workhorse, amassing a whopping 43 wins in
73 attempts. That would be good enough for 1st in the NHL last season. On the
positive side, Rinne has seen his wins increase every season and he's really just
entering his prime. On the downside, he's going to feel somewhat abandoned when
camp opens and on of his two prime protectors is MIA. The loss of Suter will be
felt. The Nashville defense goes from being one of the best in the business to
somewhat undefined, as they're forced to promote some of their younger talent.
It may be unreasonable to expect Rinne to compete for the Vezina again this
season, and a repeat of the 43 wins is a long shot. That said, as far as Rinne
himself is concerned, he's done nothing to this point in his career that would
suggest he's not worthy of remaining among the elite at this position from a
Also in this tier:
- Mike Smith (PHO) - great
season last year will be next to impossible to repeat
- Ryan Miller (BUF) - big
rebound in store here
Jump on over to the
Draft Guru and view the entire top 50 list.
You can customize your own draft list there, either starting from
scratch, or manipulating our list to meet your needs.
Next up… Defense.